“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
On Thursday, June 13, the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors by a score of 114 – 110. In so doing, they captured the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy. After spending a night in “Sin City” the team flew home to throngs of people in a parade this past Monday. Several of those interviewed were weeping at the thrill of being so close to one of the Raptors. Some of the sentiments expressed, were nothing less than expressions of worship.
What are we as believers to do with this? Is it wrong to follow professional sports? Is it wrong to get behind your favourite team, and cheer them on? One thing is certain, the world of Sports has gotten bigger than it ever has in history. Players are awarded multi-million dollar contracts – and many parents are dreaming that their children will one day be in these leagues. Even many Christian parents hold the thrill of fame and fortune out before their children, as the one goal worth pursuing in life. Parents, unwittingly perhaps, teach their children that sports is more important than church, by neglecting church when there is a game on Sunday.
One mother of three accomplished athletes said the following: “Athletics is such a competing god. I think that it’s so critical that the parents are always checking their own hearts. I needed to check my heart through our process. Where are you drawing your identity? Where are you drawing your sense of meaning? What is in your heart? If this were to end tomorrow, what would be left in terms of your sense of wholeness, and well-being, and who you are? Are you drawing that from the Lord? Is hockey a bigger delight for me than God is? I asked my son to wrestle with that question on an ongoing basis, too.”
It is not wrong to follow sports, and it is not wrong even to get involved in professional sports. But it is vitally necessary to continually examine our hearts to determine whom we are more in love with, ourselves and our sports teams – or our Saviour who gave His everything for us! Sports may be good – but sometimes believers need to forego good things in order to pursue the best things!